Editorial: A Disturbing Pattern of Permissiveness to Graft
It’s hard to look at the government’s recent capitulations in the fight against corruption and write them off as minor setbacks, misguided policies, or sheer ineptitude on the part of the officials responsible.
The administration of President Joko Widodo has already allowed the highly regarded Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to bear an assault of highly dubious criminal charges mounted by the police, an institution whose track record on fighting graft is far from stellar. The interim antigraft chairman named by the president has already drawn criticism for vowing to shelve an investigation that until recently had pointed squarely at Joko’s political patron, Megawati Soekarnoputri of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P); and both of Joko’s picks for police chief are part of a clique of controversial generals with “fat” bank accounts.
Add to this the fact that the PDI-P holds the distinction as the party with the most members investigated and jailed by the KPK, and it comes as little surprise that Justice Minister Yasonna Laoly, a PDI-P politician, now wants to make it easier for corruption convicts to receive sentence cuts.
The previous administration labeled corruption an extraordinary crime, and rightly so. If the minister is to roll back years of efforts meant to eradicate what is undoubtedly the most serious crime in the republic, then what does that say about the government? That it is permissive of corruption? That it is more loyal to the interests of the ruling party than to those of the people?
It would be tempting at this point to say that we are on the brink of going down a slippery slope — except that we already went over that edge when the president named a police general with a cloud over him, and close ties to Megawati, as his nominee for police chief.
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Source: The Jakarta Globe